As injuries rack up, Packers players continue the turf vs. grass conversation
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Following a game that included several injuries to Packers players, including Romeo Doubs, Aaron Jones, Eric Stokes and Rashan Gary, some members of the green and gold are calling on the NFL to make a change regarding the use of artificial turf playing surfaces.
Packers linebacker De'Vondre Campbell took to Twitter, saying:
"This is two weeks in a row we've had players get injured on turf fields. I think it's time y'all take some of the money y'all make off us and invest in grass fields for every team around the league. The turf is literally like concrete, it has no give when you plant @NFL."
"I feel like it's something they should take away from the game of football," said lineman Elgton Jenkins. "We work so hard, and I feel like if turf fields are one of the things that affect us as players, I feel like it's one of the things they should take out of the game if they care about the protection of the players."
In 2020, NFL Players Association President JC Tretter posted an article calling on the league to use natural grass fields. The article cited NFL injury data from 2012 to 2018 that showed players have a 28% higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries when playing on artificial turf.
Fourteen stadiums, including Ford Field, have artificial turf fields. Packers Head Coach Matt Lafleur was questioned Monday if the NFL should do something about the playing surfaces teams use.
"That's out of my league," LaFleur said. "I think a majority of players, if you polled them around the league, would say they prefer grass. That's a big reason, even when we do play on turf, that we get the majority of our practices outside on the grass. I think it's a little bit easier on their bodies."
Doctor Samuel Steiner is a sports orthopedic surgeon at Orthopedic Associates of Wisconsin in Delafield. He says while the playing surfaces can certainly have in impact on player injuries, the size and physicality of players nowadays, compared to decades prior, is also a factor.
"My opinion is it just has to do with the physics of sports," Dr. Steiner said. "Now, you're having athletes who are bigger, more muscular, faster. The physics behind everything, with how fast you can run, how fast you can cut, is changing, but athletes' ligaments, the size of their ACL, is not changing."
Dr. Steiner says the type of shoe used can also lead to injuries on turf fields versus grass fields.
"Some athletes are having a hard time picking out what type of cleats to wear when they're on turf," Dr. Steiner explained. "You wear cleats that are really long, like you would in natural grass, or in turf that's much longer, that's going to have much more of a grip if you go to turf, that's much shorter. Now, your foot's grabbing in the turf and now when you go to turn and twist playing soccer, playing football, your foot is stationary, you twist with all the momentum and the force then goes to your knee."
No matter what the cause of the injuries, they have the Packers in tough shape, something the head coach hopes the team can overcome.
"Everybody has to be at their best to give us a chance to go out there and compete at the level we want and at a winning level on Sunday," LaFleur said. "We need everybody."